I know I’ve mentioned this a couple of times, but I’m a mom. And a grad student. And a few other things.
I am NOT an old Italian grandmother, or a professional chef, or the type of person who can spend hours carefully crafting a perfect tomato sauce. The last thing I spent hours on was… well, probably Pinterest. Whoops.
The point is, if I want a clean Italian meal, it has to be fast and easy. This sauce meets that criteria! Pair it with your pre-made Turkey-Veggie Meatballs and you can have dinner on the table in under 30 minutes easily. In fact, I really just call this Ten Minute Tomato Sauce for alliteration – it takes even less time to throw the ingredients together, or you can let it simmer for however long you have!
To keep this sauce simple, I rely on a few convenience items. For those of you who are super strict clean-eaters, you may not like these additions – and, if you have the time to make your own ingredients from scratch, then by all means go ahead! But if you, like me, find yourself frantically staring at an empty stove around 5:30 every night, use the convenience items where appropriate. The ingredients here, though store-bought and obviously more processed, are still relatively clean options without lots of added ingredients or preservatives (there will be some in just about any store-bought item, but you can keep them to a minimum). And they cut prep time down from all day to just a few minutes. But, when possible, choose “no salt” or “low-sodium” options!
As you’ve probably realized by now, I don’t like chopping things. So I do a rough chop, and then use my immersion blender to do the rest of the work for me (the immersion blender is a kitchen must-have for me!). If you don’t have an immersion blender – BUY ONE! Seriously. And, while you’re waiting for it to ship, just chop the onion, celery and garlic more finely by hand.
This is a fairly bright sauce, because I like the acidity of the tomatoes. If you’d prefer a more mellow sauce, use a heavier hand with the onion, celery and beef stock (the additional veggies will balance the additional liquid once blended, so you should have a similarly thick finished product).
We love this sauce with the Turkey-Veggie meatballs. Once you have everything puréed, you can toss them into the sauce straight from the freezer to heat! You could also add plain ground turkey or even white beans for an alternative protein boost (just make sure both are thoroughly cooked before adding to sauce). Serve with whole grain pasta, zuchinni noodles, or a mix of both! This sauce comes out thick, rich and delicious – no one will ever know that you didn’t spend all day slaving over it!
Ten Minute Tomato Sauce
1/2 c. onion, roughly chopped
1/2 c. celery, roughly chopped
1 t. olive oil
3-4 cloves of garlic, peeled
2 cans plain tomato sauce
1.5 c. beef stock
2 t. tomato paste
2 T. Italian seasoning blend (or mix your own)
2 t. honey
Salt and pepper to taste
Sweat the chopped onion and celery in olive oil for a few minutes, or until they begin to soften. Crush garlic cloves with side of knife, and add to pot. Add in tomato sauce, tomato paste, beef stock, Italian seasoning, and honey, and stir ingredients well to combine. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer for 5-10 minutes (or longer, if you have the time). Then purée with immersion blender until vegetables and garlic are well chopped.
If adding meatballs or additional protein, add to puréed sauce, heat thoroughly and then serve.
What’s your must-have kitchen item?